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“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”—Romans 12:12 (ESV).
Opening the blinds in my office this morning, I was stunned to see the empty jelly cups in my Oriole feeder. I’d just filled them late the day before. If I didn’t refill them soon, they’d be invading my hummingbird feeders.
I’m delighted with the profusion of these colorful birds. I still don’t know why the increase in numbers this year. But I’m enjoying their visits, even if it keeps me busy spooning grape jelly into their feeding cups.
I’m patient while tending to their needs but I can become impatient with others, including myself. When I misplace something or when I must call customer service for help with a tech problem, my patience wears thin. I’m not always patient with my spoiled dog, either. It’s let the dog out. Let the dog in. Yes, it’s my fault for spoiling him in the first place.
We Are Spoiled by Today’s Conveniences
Today’s conveniences, while nice, have led to more impatience. We get impatient, for example, when our Wi-Fi is slow. Our need to hurry has led to a lack of patience with others on the road. We want it now! Think microwave. We want to nuke everything with a snap of our fingers.
During our current tribulation, many of us are not being patient with the inconveniences we’re now experiencing. Some have become violent when confronted with a refusal to adhere to guidelines.
We’re living in trying times. Many have lost hope. It’s difficult to rejoice and be thankful when you’ve lost your job or a loved one to the pandemic. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to find the right words to pray.
Finding the Right Words to Pray
Spending time in God’s Holy Word each morning is a balm to my weary soul. Through reading and meditating on scripture, I am encouraged. I discover hope. Peace settles over me like a warm blanket on a cold night.
Reading the written Word inspires my prayer life, leading me to be constant in prayer throughout a busy day. When someone comes to mind, I pray. Hearing a siren leads me to pray for the first responders and the person or persons in need.
Listening to the news doesn’t lead me to despair. Instead, I’m encouraged by hearing more people, including the reporters, mentioning God and His blessings. It’s time to rejoice, be more patient with each other, and continue to pray in expectation of answers.
Living in Grateful Expectation
In Colossians 1:11 Paul encourages the recipients of his letter to be “strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (NIV). Praying for the believers in Colossae, Paul wanted them to understand the need for patience and joyful long suffering.
The word patience means to be accepting or tolerant of situations, annoyances, misfortunes or pain without complaint, irritation, or loss of temper. Patience can also mean perseverance and hopeful endurance.
As we endure the hardships of this pandemic, let’s take the Apostle Paul’s words to heart. We can only find strength and patience during this time by turning to our Heavenly Father and His Holy Word. While that may sound difficult, we can wait with an attitude of joy.
Waiting with an Attitude of Joy
In James 1:2-3, he writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (NIV).
That’s a challenging scripture to embrace. It’s difficult to find joy in times of trouble. I believe joy can be found when we look around us. Staying close to home, I can enjoy the vast array of birds visiting my feeders. I love hearing their joy-filled songs. The antics of the squirrels circling the huge trunks of the oak trees in my yard always elicit a smile.
Yes, we can rejoice, even in tough times. When we’re secure in our faith and God’s unconditional love, we can face each day with gratitude, joy, and hope.
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. (See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.) When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her seven grandchildren, working in her yard, volunteering, shooting photos, hiking, going on mission trips and playing with her spoiled rotten dog, Harley.